“Though it is still early in the investigation…we know enough to say it was an act of terror and an act of hate,” President Obama said in a five-minute speech from the White House about the early morning slaughter of 50 people in Orlando that is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history:
“What is clear is that he is a person filled with hatred,” Obama said of the suspect, who was killed by police who had responded to the hostage situation at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, that began at 2 AM.
The FBI is investigating as an act of terrorism, Obama said.
“This is an especially heard breaking day for our fellow American who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” Obama said. The site of the attack “was more than a nightclub, it was a place of solidarity and empowerment, where people come together to raise awareness, and to advocate for their civil rights. It’s a sobering reminder,” he said, that attacks “on any Americans regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation is an attack on all of us.”
“Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history…a further reminder how easy it is to get hands on weapons” that allow them to kill many people “in a school, or a house of worship, or a movie theater or a nightclub,” said Obama, who has been compelled to make speeches about mass shootings about a dozen times during his nearly eight years in office.
“We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is to make a decision as well,”he said.
Obama took no question, and today ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half staff at the White House and government and military buildings, bases and vessels worldwide, until June 16.